Turning Your Pain Into Your Passion- My Abuse Story

30 Year old Me

30 Year old Me

This is a post I shared on My Fab Finance last year. For those who have been following me for over a year, bear with me. With the growth My Fab Finance has experienced over the past year, I feel that this story needs to be shared again. It was the first time I opened up to the world about my painful past. Following this post I went on ABC’s Here and Now (Back when it was My Fab Fico and I had a co-owner) and told my story. There is power in conquering your pain. My hope is that my story will give someone else the courage to leave. 

October is Domestic Violence awareness month. I have decided to open up to my readers and essentially the world and touch on my history with domestic violence and economic abuse. I am sharing my story because of the silence that exists about this matter in our community. Women are suffering and surviving in silence, ashamed of their past. We tell ourselves we are weak if we’ve been in an abusive relationship. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

For a long time, I was extremely hard on myself, because unlike what I considered a typical survivor, I came from a middle class two-parent home.  My parents were committed to being great parents with the goal of rearing two strong, intelligent women and that’s exactly what my childhood entailed. I was a proud, confident military child with the ability to make new friends and was that kid everyone parents didn’t mind having around in hopes my manners would rub off on their children. In the absence of excuses, I considered what happened to me, to be my fault.

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[Guest Post] How I Broke My Shopping Addiction and Found Financial Freedom

This is a guest post by one of my awesome blogger pals, LaTisha Styles of Young Finances . LaTisha Styles is a motivational speaker, millennial money expert, and spokesperson specializing in simple finance for millennials.Young Finances teaches simple personal finance for millennials.

Do I need this?

No, put it back, you don’t need it.

But it’s so cute!

Stop doing this to yourself, you know you can’t afford it.

But I will be able to afford it in a week.

Yeah, but in a week you’ll be back for something else. Just put it back.

Hmm… Ok.

Inside I agreed with my rational self, but on the outside I still had the sweater in my hand and I was on my way to the register.

For 6 years I had a shopping addiction. It all started when I was 18. I had no idea that signing up for a credit card would lead me into a debt ditch. Instead I quickly registered, received my free t-shirt, and proceeded to spend money each weekend on stuff I did not need.

I enjoyed the thrill of the swipe. I didn’t have to hand over any cash and I could think about how to pay for the items later. I tried to justify each of my purchases.
As long as I could see myself using the item then it was ok to buy. But in the back of my mind I knew that I was hurting my future self.

Fast forward 6 years and I managed to rack up $22,000 dollars worth of credit card debt. I knew that it was time to start paying that down.

During those 6 years I had tried eliminating my credit card debt many times. But each time I made a little space on my credit card, I would start swiping again.

Here’s how I finally broke my shopping addiction and began to eliminate my credit card debt.

I established true needs and wants.

In the past, a need was justified pretty easily. I simply found a way to fit the item into my regular life. Fall is coming? I guess I need a new sweater. Want a homemade mojito? Hmm.. sounds like it’s time to buy a new blender.

I always found an excuse to shop because I always gave myself an excuse. It was much harder to justify my purchases when I finally started being honest with myself.

That conversation would sound entirely different now.

Do I need this?

No, put it back, you don’t need it.

You’re right. So that means I just want it.

Do you have the cash to buy it?

Well, not today.

Ok then put it back.

Alright.

It seems simple but it took me months of practice before I started to listen to my more rational self. And in the meantime I paid off every dollar of my credit card debt.

I made a video on exactly how I did it. It will be published on my youtube channel found here and If you subscribe, you’ll be the first to see it.

What about you? Do you have a spending addiction? Have you overcome one? if so, how did you do it?

Latisha Styles

5 Things I’d Tell My Younger Financial Self

Younger Self. Yeah. Don't I look like I was living the YOLO life?

Younger Self. Yeah. Don’t I look like I was living the YOLO life?

The other day a friend and I were talking about the mistakes of our past and we jokingly said that hindsight is clearer than 20/20; hindsight is Lasik Vision. The beauty of time is it allows you to reflect on your past decisions, and if you are fortunate and open to change, you grow from them.

My Fab Finance is a direct result of my growth. Over the past years I’ve worked to improve my financial situation and with this process has come a better understanding of my previous habits and how they contributed to my financial woes. If I could turn back the hands of time I would tell my younger self:

Aim to be timeless, not trendy. During high school and college I spent so much energy and money trying to keep up with the latest brands. My youth was filled with countless designer brands that are now obsolete. Trends will always go out of style but timeless items like a DVF wrap dress, or a Coach duffle bag, will continue to serve you throughout adulthood.

Borrowing money is not a solid debt repayment plan. I didn’t’ have a stable job or income during my first year in college which means I had no realistic way to pay my debts back. I was continuing to spend frivolously and my only repayment plan consisted of asking for money from relatives, which would always go towards floating my lifestyle rather than the creditors I owed. Sooner or later you run out of people to borrow from and thats when the debt tidal waves begin to rush in.

Don’t rush, you have a lifetime to pay bills. After sophomore year of college I was convinced that I was an adult. I moved off campus and to Miami Florida, and started paying rent and utilities. Knowing what I know now I would have continued to allow my tuition to cover room and board. Paying rent on a monthly basis was a burden that required a steady job, which distracted from my ability to fully enjoy and embrace the college experience.

This debt you are ignoring will take 5-7 years minimum to disappear. If I looked at debt that way I think I would have handled things differently rather than telling myself it was over when the debt collectors stopped calling. While my debt wasn’t ruining my life, it was holding me back. I recall looking at my credit report for the first time as a real adult. It was like walking into a room and all of my bad decisions were all hanging out. It took a few years to untangle the mess I had created for myself.

$50 is not a real savings account. I had such a poor relationship with money in those days. I felt that having $50 in savings was decent and I would usually take that bit of money out for “emergencies” like a group dinner or a sale at Journey’s. I really came to understand the real meaning of a savings account as my responsibilities grew while the country experienced an economic recession. I was laid off 3 times in two years and learned the importance of having a real financial reserve the hard way.

Although I made several more financial  (And health) mistakes other than those I’ve touched on here, I have also learned not to be too hard on yourself. There is not a single person on this earth that has it all together. While I focus on money and teaching women how to be responsible with their money, I am an even bigger advocate of life and living.

Life is a journey and that means you take it with the ups and downs with grace, including the deficits and the surpluses.

What are a few lessons you learned along the way?

30 Year old Me

30 Year old Me

Reason # 32 It Doesn’t Pay To Be Greedy

Late last week as I was rushing home I spotted what looked like cold, hard, cash money (yep all of those adjectives were needed) on the ground. I work in the Financial District of NYC so our streets are rather crowded around 5pm, but I can spot money anywhere, I’m just wired like that.

As I walked closer and the owner of the soon to be lost funds walked further away, my assumptions were confirmed and it was a rather neatly crumbled $10 bill.

Keeping it wasn’t even an option. I was just debating how aggressive I was willing to be to get the lost bill back to him.  Before I knew it I was trucking ass in my Nine West pumps. I caught up with the gentleman, tapped him on the back, politely told him “Sir, I think you dropped this” and went on my way. As I walked down the subway steps I commended myself for giving the money back to him. I then said a little prayer  thanking the creator for all the blessings I’ve been receiving and ask that the good deed be returned to me when I needed it most.

Well. God didn’t waste anytime with me.

Fast forward to today.

This morning my fiance’ asked if I would take the rent to the rental office and informed me that he would leave his portion in our mailbox. I confirmed and continued to proceed with my morning regimen so that I could get to work at a timely manner. This isn’t the first time we’ve set up this arrangement, but it was the first time that I forgot.

It wasn’t until I was sitting at my desk at 3:45pm this afternoon that I remembered.

My heart sunk.

Thoughts raced.

There was a blank money order sitting in our mailbox just waiting to be taken by an underpaid postal worker who could easily assume that our rent was God’s reward to them. We hadn’t been late on rent our entire 2 years of living here, and due to the upcoming website redesign and wedding, I simply did not have the extra room in my budget to shell out our entire rent because of my forgetfulness.

I changed into my rushing flats and left work early with the hope that I would beat the postal worker home. I unlocked our door and saw that one of the mailboxes were left open and had new mail in it. My heart sunk as I inserted the key to open our mailbox.

We had new mail.

$%&#

But under the new mail, was the envelope, that my fiance’ had left this morning, with our undisturbed money order.

I wanted to cry.

This was my reciprocity for returning that gentleman his money. And while my rent was significantly more, being the believer in Karma that I am,  I know that the outcome could have been very different over $10.

And that is Reason #32 It doesn’t pay to be greedy. And perhaps reason #2 New Yorker’s aren’t so bad after all.

 

Oh Hi… I’m Engaged!

Now lets get insurance!

Well I guess I kinda got straight to the point with that title huh?

If you follow me on a social media or know me in person this isn’t news to you. But it’s news to on MyFabFinance.com and I figured it was time to let the cat out of the bag.

I’ve been involved with Khomari, finance’ for 3 years and 8 months and he’s is definitely one of the best things to ever happens to me. He changed my life and changed my perception of love. Because of him I truly know what it feels like to be loved. And while this sounds completely materialistic, I love my ring.

I love my ring because it’s exactly what I wanted, and that is a reminder that Khomari actually listens to me.

You see back in 2010 I went on a cruise with my parents and during that trip I learned about Tanzanite. Since then, I’ve done my research on Tanzanite and the role the Tiffany company has played in the popularization of the stone, never the less, I fell in love with Tanzanite stones and decided then and there that I wanted my wedding ring to be a Tanzanite. I told this story to Khomari once we started to get serious and low and behold he surprised me with a Tanzanite engagement ring on August 30, 2014.

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He purchased the ring from Zales and opted for their Lifetime Jewelry Protect Plan (LJPP). As he is a man of little words (and questions) he didn’t realize that the LJPP has its limitations. After my sleuthing I found that the LJPP only covers the following repairs and services by Zales:

  • any prong or mounting
  • re-tipping of prongs
  • replacement of damaged earring backs
  • spring rings on gold chains and bracelets
  • refinishing
  • polishing
  • stone tightening
  • chain and bracelet soldering
  • cultured pearl restringing
  • replacement of lost or chipped gemstones and diamonds

Further more this service does not cover theft, mysterious disappearance, loss or damage other than that incurred in normal wear.

Basically they don’t cover all of the stuff that would probably happen and cover everything that probably wont.

We needed something more and Perfect Circle Insurance was the answer.

I love insurance. I’m all about being insured. It’s funny because I partnered with Perfect Circle by Jewelers Mutual to host an event in New Orleans during the Financial Bloggers Conference (FinCon) and during our initial conversations I didn’t have any jewelry I cared to insure, I just believed in cost-effective insurance. But once I received my ring I realized how wonderful Perfect Circle (PC) is. We decided to insure my ring with PC not because of my previous working relationship with them, but because of the value. I believe in paying for piece of mind when it makes sense and PC made sense.

For $30 a year I got the following:

  • Worldwide Repair and Replacement Coverage: Comprehensive jewelry protection against loss, theft, damage or mysteriously disappearance (unexplained loss). Coverage also includes loose stones while they are being set by your own jeweler. Standard homeowners’ policies may only provide limited jewelry protection. Other insurance policies typically don’t cover loose stones.
  • Same Kind and Quality: Repaired or replaced jewelry will be virtually indistinguishable from the original, especially important with name-brand jewelry.
  • Use Your Preferred Jeweler: No need for multiple estimates from various jewelers.
  • No Deductible Required: And no limits on the value of coverage. A minimum annual policy premium is $25.
  • Automatic Coverage: Customers with an existing policy from Jewelers Mutual enjoy up to 30 days of automatic coverage (subject to a limit of up to $10,000) on any newly acquired jewelry items.

I loose things. There’s a lot going on in my mind and I would be devastated if I lost my engagement ring. It didn’t cost an enormous amount of money, but it means so much to Khomari and me that $30 a year ($2.50 a month) is a piece of mind I am willing to pay for.

Whats next? A My Fab Finance Wedding !!!

Stay tuned for my wedding planning on a budget post and the steps we are taking to save our coins during this process.

[EVENT] Get Your Discounted Tickets to the next NYC Sip, Swap, & Shop

Earlier this year I partnered with Joy Spears of Confident Curls and Niyya Tenee of Locs Revoluton to host a Summer Fashion Sip, Swap, and Shop.

The event was soooo successful that we decided to do a fall version. I love fall weather and I love fall fashion. But you know what I love even more? Cute inexpensive clothes!

At the Sip, Swap, & Shop you will shop the closets of fellow frugal fashionistas while sipping wine and hearing from fashion experts. Seriously, I walked away from our last one with a pair of Fendi sunglasses among other fab finds!

The only rule is that you must bring 3-5 five gently used items of clothing, unused makeup or haircare products, shoes and/or accessories to exchange with other attendees in order to walk away with some new gently used items for your closet. 

Our Special Guest are:

Wardrobebreakdown
Al Malonga 
www.wardrobebreakdown.com
@wardrobebreakdown

carrie

Carrie Pink 
www.CarriePink.com
@carriepink

So don’t wait any longer! Early Bird Ticket sales end tomorrow!!!

www.fallfashionsss.eventbrite.com 

FallFashionSSS

#MyFabIsLess The One Thing I Never Check Out Of A Hotel Without Doing

During college I worked as a traveling beauty advisor for Estee Lauder.

Yep.

Somehow I have managed to sell cars and make-up and I don’t even like selling!

I was the youngest person on the team and travelled throughout North Carolina and South Carolina representing the company at product launches, conducting skin evaluations, and educating customers about the products. It was a great opportunity that polished my customer service skills and paid really well.

But the best thing about working that job was that I worked for a woman named Mrs. Eerie. She was (and still is) one of the wittiest, wisest, most observant women over 60 that I know. We would often have overnight trips and it was during my first trip with Mrs. Eerie that she let me in on the one thing she always did before checking out of the hotel.

She always took care of the housekeeping staff that took care of her.

There would be some trips where we wouldn’t even see the people assigned to our rooms, but she always left a gift.

Every since those days I have made it my mission to thank the people who have the thankless job of cleaning up after us. Housekeeping staff is often over looked and under appreciated. Their roles are less visible than the bellhops and front desk agents. They slide into our room and tidy it up after us so that our stay is pleasant.

And they often go un-thanked for it.

Day in and day out, their job is to ensure that others have a pleasant stay while on vacation. The fact is, most lower level workers in the hospitality industry will never be able to afford a luxurious vacation. According to Forbes magazine the average salary of a housekeeper is $19,000 annually.

Since I can’t afford to send them on a vacation yet I make sure I leave a little something in the room with a short note whenever I check out of a hotel. It doesn’t cost me a thing. My gifts are often samples, promo-items, or gifts that I think would be more appreciated as a re-gift. While my small gift can’t make up for the inequalities that exists, hopefully it’s enough to make someone stop, smile to themselves and add a little pep to their step throughout the day.

It’s my way of saying “I appreciate you”.

If you have more product or samples than you know what to do with, consider tucking it away in your closet for your next trip. Everyone likes to be appreciated every now and again.

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The First Ever My Fab Finance E-book Is HERE!

I am bursting with emotion. No really, as I type this post from my New Orleans Hotel lobby “Somewhere over the rainbow” is playing. does it get any more perfect than that!?!

Back in March I determined that writing a book was my non-negotiable for the year. Today that dream becomes a reality.

Today, 6 months later, I present to you 7 Life Changing Money Tips: Learn How To Save Money, Get Out of Debt, & Create Finances As Fabulous As You.

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To download the book you must sign up for the mailing list to the right.

(If you are already on our e-mail list you will receive an e-mail announcement shortly.)

Being that integrity is my thing, I promise never to spam you.

 

Cheers, Love, and all that good stuff.